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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Dec;86(12):2248-55.

Acupuncture for upper-extremity rehabilitation in chronic stroke: a randomized sham-controlled study.

Author information

1
Research Department, New England School of Acupuncture, Watertown, MA 02472, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the effects of traditional Chinese acupuncture with sham acupuncture on upper-extremity (UE) function and quality of life (QOL) in patients with chronic hemiparesis from stroke.

DESIGN:

A prospective, sham-controlled, randomized controlled trial (RCT).

SETTING:

Patients recruited through a hospital stroke rehabilitation program.

PARTICIPANTS:

Thirty-three subjects who incurred a stroke 0.8 to 24 years previously and had moderate to severe UE functional impairment.

INTERVENTIONS:

Active acupuncture tailored to traditional Chinese medicine diagnoses, including electroacupuncture, or sham acupuncture. Up to 20 treatment sessions (mean, 16.9) over a mean of 10.5 weeks.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

UE motor function, spasticity, grip strength, range of motion (ROM), activities of daily living, QOL, and mood. All outcomes were measured at baseline and after treatment.

RESULTS:

Intention-to-treat (ITT) analyses found no statistically significant differences in outcomes between active and sham acupuncture groups. Analyses of protocol-compliant subjects revealed significant improvement in wrist spasticity (P<.01) and both wrist (P<.01) and shoulder (P<.01) ROM in the active acupuncture group, and improvement trends in UE motor function (P=.09) and digit ROM (P=.06).

CONCLUSIONS:

Based on ITT analyses, we conclude that acupuncture does not improve UE function or QOL in patients with chronic stroke symptoms. However, gains in UE function observed in protocol-compliant subjects suggest traditional Chinese acupuncture may help patients with chronic stroke symptoms. These results must be interpreted cautiously because of small sample sizes and multiple, unadjusted, post hoc comparisons. A larger, more definitive RCT using a similar design is feasible and warranted.

PMID:
16344019
DOI:
10.1016/j.apmr.2005.07.287
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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